Friendly Spirit Story


When the informants grandmother died, she requested that her ashes be spread in the ocean, and her mom (the informant’s great-grandmother) died shortly before, requesting that her ashes be spread somewhere tropical. The informant’s family decided, then, to spread both of their ashes together in the ocean near a small beach in Maui. During the ash spreading ceremony, the informant’s family paddled far out on surfboards and, in ceremony, released fallen plumeria flowers that they had found out into the sea. 

Four years later, the informant, her sister, and her cousin (who had all been present for the aforementioned ash spreading ceremony years before) went out to the same beach at sunset. Two of them swam out to where they had done the ceremony years before, with the last staying on the shore. Then, they all released plumerias for their grandmother again, the two of them releasing them from their place in the ocean, and the other releasing them from the shore. The next morning, they returned to the beach, the same two going out to swim in the ocean and the last staying on shore, again. Suddenly, the cousin on shore saw a plumeria lei floating towards her from the sea, all the way into her hands. Then, two more plumeria leis floated towards the cousins in the ocean, seemingly from nowhere. They believe that these plumeria offerings must have come from their grandmother. 


The informant knows this myth/story from her own experience with her family members. The family members all know and appreciate this story as well. The informant, along with everyone else in her family, believes the plumeria offerings to have been a message from their grandmother, and use this experience as a sign that her grandmother is not completely gone, and is always with them. 


This story exemplifies the tendency that so many people have to not accept that their loved ones are truly gone. Because we do not truly know what happens after our lives on Earth, we are inclined to believe whatever comforts us most about the mystery of our existence. Believing that our loved ones are still here, all around us, helps us to make sense of their deaths and the loss of someone who was once always around. When paranormal experiences such as the informant’s experience with the plumeria leis happen, we want to believe in any kind of sign that our loved ones still exist. This could be both because of our love for our late friends and family, and also because of the fear that much of society has of ourselves completely disappearing after we pass on.